A Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is a method used for understanding what the landscape is like, how it formed, and how it may change in the future. It helps to define what makes an area unique as well as what should be done to protect and improve character. The LCA programme covers the whole of England and is a technique that can provide a consistent description of England’s varied landscapes. LCA is important because it allows informed decisions to be made that enable us to plan for a environmentally sustainable future where new development is well situated and sensitive to its location.
The purpose of a LCA is to help ensure that change and development does not undermine what is characteristic or valued about a particular place, the ways in which the landscape can be enhanced and ways of improving the character of a place. LCA aims to provide a strong and robust evidence base to help ensure future change and development conserve and enhance rather than erode landscape character.
There are two separate LCA reports for Central Bedfordshire which cover the former Mid Beds and South Beds District Council areas. This is because the LCA was carried out before April 2009 when both districts were amalgamated to create the new unitary authority of Central Bedfordshire. Both LCAs, when considered together, provide a characterisation of the whole of Central Bedfordshire and describe eight broad landscape types. These eight landscape types are further subdivided into smaller landscape character areas which each have a distinct and recognisable identity at the local level. In total there are 21 such sub-areas covering former Mid Bedfordshire and 23 in the former South Bedfordshire district. These character areas provide a useful and convenient unit for the LCA and therefore are used as the basis for the detailed description and evaluation.
A 1:50,000 landscape analysis has been undertaken for the whole of Bedfordshire and a finer 1:25,000 study has been completed for Central Bedfordshire. As the document is so large it has been broken down into its individual chapters to ease downloading.
Landscape Character Assessment - former Mid Beds area
Front cover (PDF 91KB)
Introduction and methodology (PDF 998KB)
Human influences (PDF 500KB)
Physical influences (PDF 990KB)
Landscape types and character areas (PDF 293KB)
Figure 14 (PDF 501KB)
Type 1 (PDF 550KB)
Type 4 (PDF 907KB)
Type 5 (PDF 1.5MB)
Type 6 (PDF 868KB)
Type 7 (PDF 333KB)
Type 8 (PDF 832KB)
Type 9 (PDF 324KB)
Type 10 (PDF 549KB)
Appendices (PDF 442KB)
Landscape Character Assessment - former South Beds area
Introduction and methodology (PDF 1.6MB)
Human Influences (PDF 666KB)
Physical Influences (PDF 1.3MB)
Landscape types and character areas (PDF 83KB)
Type 5 (PDF 790KB)
Type 6 (PDF 635KB)
Type 7 (PDF 508KB)
Type 8 (PDF 1.3MB)
Type 9 (PDF 2MB)
Type 10 (PDF 1.2MB)
Type 11 (PDF 1.6MB)
Type 12 (PDF 1.5MB)
Appendices (PDF 337KB)
Additionally, a very detailed character assessment has been carried out for the land covered by the Chalk Arc Project (LINK). This project has been established to make sure ‘green infrastructure (LINK)’ is delivered in and around Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade where considerable new development is scheduled to take place over the coming years.
The LCA provides key information that can be used to help make decisions on the appropriate location, scale and design of new development. It would also interest individuals and local communities who have an interest in their neighbourhood landscape and would also provide a framework for more detailed studies of local landscape character such as design statements and parish plans. The assessment also has wider applications such as influencing land management decisions such as agri-environment schemes.